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Is it time to shake up your show roster?

You know that feeling when you want to get out of the lottery pool at work, but you know they’ll win as soon as you leave? It’s the same feeling you get when you consider skipping a trade show where your company has exhibited for a long time. Much like taking stock of a relationship, however, you need to stop and assess the benefits of going to that expo.

Each trade show where you exhibit represents a significant investment in resources, especially dollars and man-hours. So, each show affects your ability to exhibit at other shows by claiming a portion of your trade show budget. How can you tell which shows are deserving of your precious trade show dollars?

1. My kind of people: If your buyers and potential buyers are not walking a show, then why exhibit there? The primary reason to exhibit is to connect with high-quality attendees. Or perhaps the right people are still there, but in diminishing numbers? You could cut the show from your lineup, or perhaps scale back your presence.

2. Show me the money: If you have a long lineup of trade shows that provide a wide range of Return On Investment, then drop the shows at the lower end of the range, unless they achieve other key objectives besides ROI. Also consider cost versus benefit; maybe your least costly show yields the greatest return, or (worse) vice versa.

3. Cutting edge or out of date: Some industries evolve more rapidly than others. The expo should offer attendees panel discussions, speakers, networking opportunities, and educational sessions that are valuable to them in their work. An expo that is behind the times may not be attracting the people you want as customers.

4. Failure to communicate: It’s important that the show organizers advertise and promote the event to get attendees to register. Organizers should also provide exhibitors with access to the attendee lists to promote their own booth presence. By now, all trade shows should have integrated some level of social media into their marketing and promotions so they can reach a younger audience that prefers this over traditional media. Younger attendees will ultimately determine the future of a show and, eventually, your industry and your business.

5. Exhibitor feedback-based improvements: Some shows appoint exhibitors to an advisory committee to gather feedback about potential changes the show can make to improve the experience for exhibitors as well as attendees. If the show doesn’t have such a committee, they should solicit feedback from exhibitors, possibly in the form of a survey, to learn and improve the show in coming years. If your expo is not gathering this information, perhaps they don’t have their proverbial finger on the pulse of your industry.


So, do the shows on your roster measure up? If not, then consider dropping those shows. Take those budget dollars and reinvest in more productive expos, or consider adding a new expo to the lineup. Don’t be afraid to make a big move; but if you don’t want to make a complete break with an expo, consider downsizing your booth, or sponsoring a hospitality suite instead of exhibiting.


What are your thoughts on this? We’d like to hear your comments!

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